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Greenbrier Rail Services ordered to reopen facility, reinstate employees, bargain With union

On November 11, 2012, Gunderson Rail Services, which does business as Greenbrier Rail Services (Greenbrier), a nation-wide railway car repair and maintenance provider, laid off 28 of 90 employees working at its Tucson, Arizona facility in the wake of its employees’ union organizing campaign, wherein a majority of Greenbrier’s employees signed union authorization cards affirming they wanted the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, Local 359 (Union) to represent them in collective bargaining.   

After the NLRB’s Phoenix Regional Office, Region 28, found merit to the Union’s allegation that the layoff was unlawful, a NLRB administrative hearing was scheduled and began on September 17, 2013.  Just prior to the start of the hearing, Greenbrier’s officials announced plans to close the Tucson facility and lay off the remaining employees.  The Region then determined that the impending closure and further layoffs were unfair labor practices aimed at further disrupting union organizing efforts.   

Thereafter, the Region, with Board authorization, sought injunctive relief in the U.S. District Court, requiring Greenbrier to reopen its Tucson facility, restore its operations, reinstate the laid off employees and bargain with the Union.  It sought this temporary injunctive relief because Greenbrier’s actions squelched all union support at its facility and an immediate remedy was needed to counter Greenbrier’s unlawful actions while issuance of a final Board was pending.   

On March 14, 2014, Senior District Court Judge Frank R. Zapata, agreeing with the NLRB, issued a temporary injunction (Injunction Order), ordering Greenbrier to reopen and restore operations at its Tucson facility, to offer immediate reinstatement to the Tucson employees, and to bargain with the Union in good faith.  The Injunction Order was subsequently clarified to require Greenbrier to continue its past practice of sending its own rail cars and equipment to Tucson for repair or service, to inform its largest customer that it would charge the same rates it had in effect in 2013, and to further inform other past customers that its Tucson facility had reopened and solicit them to use Greenbrier’s services.  

Greenbrier appealed and filed an emergency motion to stay the Injunction Order to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.  On April 23, 2014, the Ninth Circuit denied the stay request and ordered that Greenbrier comply with the District Court’s Injunction Order, as clarified, by no later than May 5, 2014.  The appeal remains pending.

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